Saturday, July 2, 2022

Hiding From the Heat

This past week was hot as Hell, probably literally. Most days were in the nineties (F), with at least one day hitting 100 degrees. The yardwork now gets done early in the morning or it isn’t done at all. But we’re all in this together, so it’s not like we’re the only ones with yellow-green lawn. The landscaping companies are booked through the year for xeriscape conversions. Ask me how I know. So nothing will change in our yard until 2023. 

But the scariest part is the weather forecast for this Independence Day long weekend. Our temps will be in the nineties, breezes and gusts in the 25-35 mph range, and humidity down to 8-12%. All the mountains and foothills have fireworks bans, as do most of the parks and river parkways. But, there’s always *that person* who doesn’t follow the rules. So we’ll stay indoors on the 4th of July and try to keep our pets (and ourselves) calm.

The Rainbow Scrap Challenge color for July is purple. I started with the usual easy blocks first.

Two Antique Tile Blocks (12.5”)


Twelve Framed Nine-Patches (8.5”)


I also finished up my dark and bright blue Bear Paws from June before month end -  6 at 6.5” and 1 at 9”


And of course I had to finish up those two green and blue elephant quilts before month end! All six of my quilt finishes for June are in the “2022 Quilts” tab at the top of the blog. But let’s check out the ellies!


Both little quilts finished at 42x47”. They each have one blue and green floral elephant that matches the border. The rest of the elephant blocks are a mix of various blue and green critters. There is a 1.5” sashing between blocks and rows, and both quilts were quilted with a simple loopy design. 


Both backings are identical - that cheery green and blue fabric that I’m in love with, 


In fact, I love this fabric so much that I’ll be making pillowcases out of the (planned) leftover yardage! 

With all the devastating decisions that have been coming out of the Supreme Court these last couple weeks, our country seems headed in the wrong direction, courtesy of the Radical Right. Loss of women’s bodily autonomy (and a constitutional right) with the overturning of Roe v Wade. Blurring lines between the separation of church and state. Weakening the regulatory powers of the Environmental Protection Agency. I wish I could give proper attribution to the picture below, which sums up the views of what I believe is a majority of rational Americans. (If you know, please leave a comment).  


But I’ll leave you with a happy picture of one corner of our backyard that was bursting with blooms this week. 


Have a wonderful week everyone!

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Wrapping up Dark Blue - Almost

June will wrap up on Thursday the 30th this month, which is also my son Shane’s birthday. OMG, he’ll be 43 - and he’s my middle child. Gee, he’s getting OLD! Hmmmm.... aging seems to run in the family, LOL.  

This month for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge the colors are dark and bright blue. I still have a few things to wrap up, but I’ve got five days to do it, so it’ll be easy peasy. But I did get a lot - and I do mean a lot - of sewing done this week. We had several rainstorms this week (only one of any great amount). Rain means more sewing time! The drought continues, but at least we haven’t had to water the yard. And our scheduled dentist appointments needed to be rescheduled, so that gave me an extra morning to play as well. 

First up, I finished my pieced elephants. There are eight of them here; the other 4 were shown earlier in the month. The pattern is Stomping Ground by Wendy Shepard, and the blocks finish at 10” each.

As planned, this was my Week of the Elephant, so all the blue and green elephants got pieced into two flimsies.

Blue and Green Elephants, 1 of 2

Once again, my iMac is having fits and hiding some pictures (and their edits) in random locations. I’m ready to throw it through a window. I’m going to load the photos from my phone to the iPad and continue from here. Grrrrr…

Blue and Green Elephants, 2 of 2

Can I say again how much I love this border fabric? I included one elephant made out of it in each quilt. And then I decided it would be the backing too, so I had to order more. With the quick service (and great prices) from Quilted Twins, it arrived yesterday.  

I’ll get these two little donation elephant quilts basted and quilted over the weekend and share them, finished, next Saturday. 

I got a lot of dark and bright blue things sewn up this week too. Fourteen bow ties at 4.5”


A dark blue row of scrappy crumbs and plain-cut tumblers (alternating). 


Several rows are now complete. I’ve added a colored scrap marker in the above picture to show you what’s left to sew as those colors are called. The sides will be trimmed straight after assembly.

I also used my dark and bright blue crumbs to make 18, 6.5” crumb blocks and then assembled them into three 12x18” placemats to join my collection. They’re getting a lot of use! I’m linking up to the Table Scraps June Linky party at The Joyful Quilter.


Next week I’ll show my dark blue bear paw blocks, which are all cut out and ready to be sewn.

I basted several quilts this week (3 or 4, can’t remember) and got two of those quilted up and finished. The first one - and I should’ve photographed it on the floor for a more flattering picture - is this scrappy half-square triangle donation quilt.

I quilted the dark blue with straight lines about a half-inch away from the seamlines in a dark blue thread that doesn’t show up. But you can see the same quilting on the brighter triangles.  There is also horizontal quilting in the ditch. 

Every last square inch of the donated scrap fabrics were used to enlarge the back with a decorative center. This quilt finished at 42x54”, a good youth size.

My second quilt finish was (my favorite), the seaside checkerboard quilt.


Quilted with my usual loops, it measures 42x48”. The backing was a delightful green geometric batik. Both of these quilts will go to Quilts for Kids.

****************

Last Saturday was my granddaughter Lauren’s high school graduation party for her family and friends. Here she is with the graduation quilt I finished last fall for her.

If you thought you remembered Lauren as a natural blonde, you’d be correct. She dyed her hair brown a couple months ago. Teenagers! I miss her beautiful golden locks. 

Someone also snapped a picture of some of us at the party. Left to Right: DIL Kim and son Ryan (Lauren’s parents), me (grandma), Celine and Graham (parents of Lauren’s boyfriend Graham Jr) and Bruce (grandpa). 

And finally, in a stunning role reversal this month, I caught Darla being a mischievous imp

And Alfie (make that Sir Alfalfa) cultivating a distinguished demeanor.

What is this world coming to? (wink)





Saturday, June 18, 2022

Just Sewing and Gardening

Sewing and Gardening - my week in a nutshell. It’s been a great, hot week, although it started out with some wind, rain and temps early spring-like. I was even wearing my fuzzy socks. But the wind brought temps that reached into the 80’s and then the 90’s. Yikes! No complaints here as long as we can get our gardening and errands done before noon and then spend the afternoon sewing - or for Bruce, puttering in his workshop. 

I know most of you are visiting the blog for the quilting part, but I’m going to mix it up a bit and show some more garden pictures first.  You know I’m a big fan of roses, but I didn’t show you all of them last week (nor will I show them all this week), but I do have a few more that are blooming their little hearts out now that I wanted to share.

This one is along the back wall with the two climbers we have. It’s not a climber, but that’s OK. I’ve tried so many things in this spot that didn’t take (mostly clematis - they hate me), so I’m thrilled that this one is thriving among the irises.

I did show this rose bush (below) last week, and although it’s past its prime now I wanted to show it again with the delphinium that started blooming. I lost two of my delphiniums this last year, so they are on my list (along with echibeckia, veronica, and hostas). But every time we run to the big box nursery, we’re getting bags and bags of mulch, and I forget. 


This week we got all the pathways in the vegetable garden laid out with cardboard (a great, natural weed barrier) and fine bark mulch. It looks so nice! I went out to take a picture of the finished project yesterday, but the wind had been so nasty that the rose petals were half gone. A mess.

The rose bush below is one of my favorites (yeah, like we all have favorite children - each and every one). It’s at the curved bend of our front walkway steps.


The little rose tree in one of our front walkway beds. So happy!


Well, that’s enough for now. I had more garden pictures, but between my iPhotos and Blogger, some photos keep being sent to the wrong place on my computer and the editing isn’t showing . Ugh. At least the sewing studio pix that I’ll be using will be OK enough unedited. So, let’s move along, shall we?

I did piece two elephant blocks this week, but I’ll save them for next week when I show the final eight ellies. Hopefully I can get them all pieced into quilt tops to share next week, too. So this week was instead devoted to strings.

Fifteen navy string blocks at 6.5". These will go to Quilts for Kids as-is to use in assembling a kit with matching fabric.


Thirty-six dark and bright blue string blocks (also 6.5”). These, coupled with the few I had left over from last year will go to QFK for use in three quilt kits. 


Once I was done with those, I started on a pile of dark blue and dark green QFK donated scraps I’ve been collecting since last year. This pic was supposed to be turned, but my photo editor is just not seeing the edits. 


After doing some quilty math and pulling out a few additional scraps, I did a few test blocks. That ugly, mushy one on the bottom left was my first effort. It did not make the final cut, but went to play with some new friends in the block orphanage. 


Here’s the final flimsy, with borders added. It measures 42x49”, and I love it. I love these little challenges that I give myself. It keeps things interesting!


The backing is prepped and I’ll baste it during the next week, along with the HST quilt I showed last week. And hopefully I can get them both quilted too. 

Behind the scenes I’m also quilting up some community quilts for Jo at Jo’s Country Junction Community Quilt program. They will also go to our local Quilts for Kids program. More on that when I get a batch finished up. And then next week will also be Elephant week! So I’ve got lots to sew, baste, quilt. If you’re looking for me, I’ll be in my sewing studio!

Linking up to Scrappy Saturday for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge at Angela’s So Scrappy blog.


Saturday, June 11, 2022

Summertime Blues

Well, I’ve been staring at a blank screen for at least 10 minutes, trying to figure out how to start this weekly blogpost. What’s happened this week that’s exciting in my life? Um, not much. And that’s OK really, because the best part of this last trimester of my existence - especially in summer - is the little daily things that weave themselves together into good times and memories. Like a Barnes & Noble date with Bruce, but stopping to get some frozen yogurt first; delivering kennel quilts made by me and my friend Terri to the Salt Lake Best Friends Shelter (and meeting an awesome orange male tabby named Curtis); getting the patio furniture set up finally and spending time reading out there; seeing the garden and flowers growing (pics later in the post); sleeping with windows open, ceiling fan on and kitties on the bed; homemade root beer floats. And I even got some sewing in!

Let’s start with blue scraps. June’s color for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge (RSC) is dark and bright blue. I have so many blue scraps! In my work with Quilts for Kids, I’m one of the suckers volunteers who prefers to sew with scraps. So, while yardage donations go to the Board members who make up the quilts kits to be sewn by volunteers, I (and one other woman) take the donated scraps. A lot of the fabrics and scraps are adorable, but many are dark and dreary, which is why there is never a shortage of dark blue, dark greens and browns here. 

This week I sewed four blue elephants. The pattern I use is Stomping Ground by Wendy Sheppard, and each block finishes at 10”.


But wait, there’s more! Sort of. I’ve done all the cutting for the other 8 blue elephants I’ll be making this month. This will give me all the blue and green elephants I need for the first two elephant quilts. I’ve got everything all planned out and cut (even the sashing), so I just need to find time to squeeze them in!


Moving along, I also sewed some framed four-patches. I had 20 four-patches in mixed blues from last year and decided to frame half of them in dark blues this month and the other half in light blues when we get to that month for the RSC.


And then while I was doing all that cutting and sorting of blue scraps, I prepped then sewed these 12 Bullseye Courthouse Steps blocks:


I’ve also got the three quilts planned that I’ll make with the various Courthouse blocks for this year. But first I’ll need to finish all the colors of course!

Last week I showed you a bunch of cut (scrap?) triangles that were given to me by our QFK president, Sandy. After studying several layout possibilities for the 64 half-square triangles (HSTs), this is the layout I decided upon. Our chapter of Quilts for Kids doesn’t particularly care for square quilts, so instead of using all 64 blocks in an 8x8 layout, I used 63 in a 7x9 layout. Here’s the front, and it measures 42.5x54.5”.


I did not have a really good backing for this, but finally settled on this OK-ish orange stripe that has been in my stash for almost 10 years. Too bad the brown in it isn’t navy instead! The extra block was pieced into the backing along with some smaller leftover HST’s of a print fabric that had all the colors of the front together. This is just pinned up here, but it will go into the To Be Basted pile.


A very generous woman in New Jersey named Catherine (great name!) contacted Mari, who ran this year’s Hands2Help effort, saying she had blocks to donate. Mari contacted me and asked me if I’d want them for Quilts for Kids (heck yeah!), so she put us in contact with each other. This week Catherine’s package arrived and these are some of the lovely blocks.

These stars and low volume blocks (only 16 out of 30 are pictured here) are just gorgeous! I will probably make a quilt of just the stars blocks and use the low volume four-patches for Happy Blocks in another quilt or two.


Also included were 20 blocks of 25-patch pastels that measure 10” each. Actually, there were 21, but one will either get used for the back or go into an orphan quilt. I am so in love with these blocks!! They’ve been added to the pile of finished blocks to be sewn into quilts when we take our RSC break in the last part of the year. I think there are four quilts’ worth of blocks there to be sewn up.  Thanks so much, Catherine! You’ll be seeing these again in a few short months!


I finally snapped some garden pictures. Usually I’m much earlier and more prolific in my garden picture-taking, but this is a drought year here in Utah (and most of the West), and we’ve kept our lawn watering to the recommended once per week. Up until the last ten days, the spring was very cool with plenty of rain, which really helped ease us through part of April and all of May. But now the heat has set in. It got up to 90 degrees (F) yesterday. We do water our veggies daily with drip irrigation, and I sprinkle my flower pots and flower beds by hand every evening. The grass is very dry and ugly, so keep that in mind as you view these pictures. We are planning to spend a couple hours today pulling weeds and spreading mulch in the beds around the plants and shrubs to help retain moisture.

Backyard: Chihuly rose

Closeup, Chihuly Rose

Backyard: miniature yellow rose bush, Boomer’s grave (right)

Blackberry bush (foreground), Grapes beyond that 

Climbing Roses on back wall, veggie beds in foreground (weeds in between beds!)

Front Yard: Daybreak Rose, the very definition of “laden"

Front window planter: miniature rose and Talavera orb


Some front walkway pots just planted

Another front yard rose bush. Can you tell I like roses?

Brunnera


This was the maple tree that was partially felled by our Thunderstorm From Hell last July, then finished off in a second storm in August. But you can’t keep a good tree down. It’s sporting lots of new growth and we’re hopeful that it will continue to grow and recover.

Just another flowerpot


We’ve decided that we’re going to rip out the grass between our front walkway/driveway and the house. The picture above shows the area I’m referring to. We (meaning me) just came up with the idea this week, but Bruce is totally onboard. We’ll replace the grass there with xeriscaping and the sprinklers with targeted drip irrigation. We are going to get bids for the work to be done by a professional, although I get to come up with some plant choice ideas. Anyway, I’m not sure if this will happen this season or next - it will depend on the cost and the landscaper’s timing. After all the remodeling we did this spring, to say nothing of the bed we bought (which should be gold-plated given what we paid - have you priced adjustable beds lately?), I’m thinking this project will likely happen next year. But that’ll give me plenty of time to do some plant research and shopping, hehe. 

Have a great week! Linking up to Scrappy Saturday.